2000Motels Play Zappa
....remember there is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over....
A Musical Journey
2000Motels is a Dutch/Italian band playing music of Frank Zappa.
The band started in 2016, the first lineup included among others Rob Brons (keyboards, vocals), Jan van der Veen (electric guitar) and Achille Regazzoni (bass, vocals, Weissenborn guitar).
The band went through several changes, many rehearsals were used to develop the Zappa sound and the cohesion among the musicians.
Sometime after Karsten van Straten (drums, vocals) joined the group, the first gig on February 2018 was played, followed by others in several venues in the Netherlands all through the same year.
After the first gig of 2019 the former singers left the band, so several auditions were necessary to find the right musicians (quite a coincidence as the proverb says…Necessity is the mother of invention!)
Finally by April 2019 Robin Boer (keyboards, vocals, percussions) Gerrit Eijkelboom (vocals) and later by August 2019 also Valentina Madam Bruno (vocals, percussions) joined the group which by then became a septet.
03-02-18 De Vaart Haarlem
10-02-18 P3 Purmerend
31-03-18 Saturnus Live Music Scheveningen
15-09-18 Haags-Popcentrum/Popradar Den Haag
27-10-18 Studio Gonz Gouda
24-11-18 Mosae Zappa Landgraaf
30-11-18 Nozem & de non Heemskerk
14-12-18 Zaal 100 Amsterdam
13-01-19 Patronaat Haarlem
27-01-19 Miles Amersfoort
16-03-19 De Peppel Zeist
23-03-19 Brigant Arnhem
05-04-19 The Box Katwijk
26-04-19 Stichting Utopodium Lelystad
29-06-19 Rietveld Theater Delft
25-10-19 Duycker Hoofddorp
22-11-19 Zaal 100 Amsterdam
17-01-20 Patronaat Haarlem
14-02-20 Neushoorn Leeuwarden
15-02-20 Estrado Harderwijk
29-02-20 Pianino Theater Den Haag
10-04-20 De Piek Vlissingen
04-07-20 De Kroepoekfabriek Vlaardingen
10-10-20 De Peppel Zeist
20-11-20 Zaal 100 Amsterdam
04-12-20 Duycker Hoofddorp
08-01-21 De Cacaofabriek Helmond
13-02-21 Studio Gonz Gouda
17/01/2020 Het Patronaat Haarlem
tekst : Storm Bakker
“Ze laten live horen hoe prachtig, bizar, geschift en in veel opzichten nog steeds actueel de muziek van Frank Zappa is”. Met deze weelderige zin uit de aankondiging van 2000 Motels in Het Patronaat is niets teveel gezegd.
De band speelt populaire en obscure Zappa-composities vanaf de vroege Mothers of Invention tot eind jaren ‘80 en tot twee dagen na het concert hebben we last van hardnekkige Lydische oorwurmen.
Vrijdagavond 17 januari 2020 speelde 2000 Motels Het Patronaat plat en ProgJazz was erbij.
Bandleider/drummer Karsten van Straten is een Zappa-liefhebber pur sang, die al zijn hele leven verslaafd is aan de muziek van de genius. Vooral de complexe stukken uit de jaren ’70, de periode dat drummers als Chester Thompson, Terry Bozzio en Vinnie Colaiuta vol aan de bak moesten, hebben zijn voorkeur. In 2000 Motels stelt Van Straten zich bescheiden op.
“Ik vind het belangrijk dat je je beperkingen kent en omarmt”, zegt hij, nippend aan een cola. “Het heeft toch geen zin om hier tevergeefs Vinnie te gaan lopen imiteren? We moeten dienstbaar zijn aan de band, aan de muziek van Zappa en als een eenheid opereren. De bezieling staat voorop.”
Geconcentreerd leidt Van Straten zijn band op zijn verjaardag door de 22 stukken (!). Het geheel klinkt als een klok. Enerzijds is dat vanwege de geluidsman Tijmen de Vries, die met de band meereist, anderzijds vanwege het ouderwetse adagium ‘repeteren’, dat bij Van Straten & Co gewoon van kracht is.
Een handvol minimale slordigheden daargelaten, werd elk nummer foutloos en strak uitgevoerd door een ingespeeld septet, waarbinnen iedereen zijn rol en functie kent en zich bovendien van begin tot eind kan verlaten op de Italiaanse bassist Achille Regazzoni, een rots in de branding, terwijl pianist Rob Brons (hoewel enigszins in de duistere hoek weggestopt) zorgt voor een smaakvolle, harmonische voegspecie. De kritiek op veel repeteren is -met name onder jazzmusici- dat de muziek doodgespeeld wordt, dat het spontane eraf gaat. Dat was bij Zappa echter niet het geval en ook niet bij 2000 Motels.
Er was die vrijdagavond in Het Patronaat van begin tot eind speel- en luisterplezier bij alle betrokkenen. Het publiek, dat in grote getale was opgekomen, genoot met volle teugen van bekende krakers als ‘Penguin in Bondage’ en 'Magic Fingers'. Sommigen bekten de geliefde songs mee, anderen luisterden wiegend met de ogen dicht, of dansten in trance in hun eigen habitat. Midden vooraan zat een Zappa-fanaat luchtgitaar te spelen in zijn rolstoel.
Het was lekker druk in de zaal, maar niet zó dat je de hele tijd op je hakken werd getrapt of ongewild in andermans aura (of bierwalm) rond moest dobberen.
2000 Motels heeft gekozen voor de minder moeilijke stukken uit het Zappa repertoire, zoals ‘The Torture Never Stops’ en ‘Crew Slut’. Maar ook die zijn pittig genoeg om serieus te nemen. “Geen Black Page inderdaad, meer Zappa light,” beaamt Karsten van Straten, “maar weet je: er bestaan eigenlijk geen makkelijke Zappa-stukken. In elk nummer zit wel weer iets complex, een gekke break of vreemde maatsoort, een onverwachte melodische sprong..........
©2019 by 2000Motels/Achille Regazzoni
03/02/2018 De Vaart Haarlem
by Salvatore Tozzi
I went to the try-out in Haarlem with an open mind but quite prepared to possibly witness a sorry attempt to emulate the music of one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century. I was more than impressed and the very next day I went on line and bought tickets to their first ( official) gig a week later. Need I say more…? Ok, I will! A dedicated bunch of serious musicians. Everything extensively rehearsed and ultimately very well performed. I dare say “ Frank would approve”!
13/01/2019 Patronaat Haarlem
Tribute bands are no longer an exception in the program of venues. They come by in all shapes and seizes. International touring bands, sort of endorsed by the original, bands in which no original member is playing but the name continues on, there is The Analogues of course, bands that are more or less cover bands and everything in between.
My first show in 2019 was with a Frank Zappa tribute band called 2000 Motels. It was years since I played most of my Zappa records. With the exception of 'One Size Fits All' all records by Zappa remain in their allotted, alphabetical, chronological order in respective shapes and sizes. That fact was not keeping me from going.
Zappa live? Yes, in 1980 and 1982 in Ahoy, Rotterdam. I remember the more negative experience strangely enough. The man kept playing guitar solos in 1982. There was just no end and they all sounded the same. Everything he did was an excuse to "take it away" or he was the conductor waving his baton at the band, leading them through all the complex parts.
Not so with 2000 Motels. Here it is the singer who created the band around him. Of course there were some nice solos but the songs of Zappa stood central here and not the compositions or the improvising side of Zappa. Hence it was easy to have a good time. It all started with 'Can't Afford No Shoes'. I certainly can not sing along to all Zappa songs, but this one I know by heart. It grabbed me immediately and brought me into the mood for this show. The blues-rock song from my favourite album, yeah
All sort of different songs came by from the 60s to the 80s. 'Uncle Remus', 'Sharleena', 'I Don't Wanna Get Drafted', Zappa's greatest hit, #3 in Sweden -Wikipedia tells differently: #1 in Sweden and Norway with Bobby Brown in 1979-, 'Let's Make The Water Turn Black' just to name a few. The intro to Gruppo Sportivo's(!?) 'Superman' came by.
What 2000 Motels managed to show was how diverse Zappa's oeuvre is even without going into the heavy stuff. Even the most simple songs are adorned with all sorts of complexities, rhythmic oddities, etc. For an at heart four piece instrumental band, impossible to copy. No percussionist, no second and third guitarist, no horns, no five different singers.
The Zappa groove in the instrumental parts/solos comes across so nicely. Drums and bass get into the groove with obvious pleasure. It is guitarist Jan van der Veen who takes the spotlight most with his recreation of Zappa's solos. Playing them with obvious delight and such a strong sense of timing. I really admired that. Adding it all up, 2000 Motels certainly comes out the right way
If you're a Frank Zappa fan, do not hesitate to go and look at 2000 Motels. The band does great and those small setbacks like not having a Frank Zappa baritone, are easily over won. Yes, I did really and truly enjoy myself. I even took out some of my old LPs this week.
31/03/2018 YMCA Scheveningen
by Przemek Nowak
Excerpt from the review
....one must realize that playing Zappa music is very challenging – those are not 3 chords, boom-boom-pah, jump-jump, songs. In fact, Zappa created complicated compositions, with various tempos and chords progression even within one track, so only skilled musicians could live up to the task. Original Zappa bands members were exceptionally talented (and they rehearsed literally for months before any tour was taking place). We are talking about master levels of any instrument. Here with 2000 Motels it is no different. Ok, they probably have not had the luxury of months of paid time to rehearse all nuances and play each song in reggae or metal version, yet still, the band manages to deliver a fantastic experience and show for more than 2 hours!
All that is more than any Zappa fan can expect nowadays, given the fact that it is not too many times one actually can experience Zappa songs live. Apart from Dweezil works, does anyone else really plays his music to the world? The way it was supposed to be?
Knowing that Dweezil does not come to Europe as much as we would like him to, 2000 Motels are an unique chance to experience Zappa music, once again live, played with passion, skill and humor!
A set of 20 songs is a good start and the choice goes for the entire span of Zappa’s career. You can listen to tracks from first albums (“Take off your clothes when you dance”, “Let’s make the water turn black”, “Ms. Pinky” through some biggest hits like “Penguin in Bondage”, “Muffin man”, “City of Tiny Lites”, Camarillo Brillo” and some less obvious choices like “Oh, no” or “Magic Fingers” or “Uncle Remus”. All those delivered with very good interaction with the audiences thanks to the frontman abilities to do so.
It is common knowledge that improvisations were always the big part of Zappa shows (Dweezil does them too), all those special moments when musicians can showcase their skills and abilities separately and altogether. Those always have a special place in any Zappa fan heart. I hold them dear the most.
And 2000 Motels have them too! I was so excited to hear how they work around solos and improvisations on (almost) each song. And here comes the most pleasant surprise: The solos is “Tiny Lites” with very unusual guitar passages, in ”Trouble every day” and “Penguin”, they were energetic, almost frantic and definitely long, long exactly as needed to last.
There were 3 absolute gems of performance that deserve special commendations and praises: those being “Bamboozled by love”, “Sexual harassment in a workplace” and “Village of the Sun”.
“Bamboozled” has put me in a state of excitation by its funky beat, played faster and with more emphasis on the bass, than I have ever heard, in fact it was so funky that even Prince would be satisfied. It was hypnotic, addictive, compelling and trancy, I wished it lasts much longer than it had! Definitely one of the strongest points of the evening.
Then there was the “Harrassment” and boy, how fantastically that one sounded! The song is fully instrumental (for those who might not know, are there any?) and there are at least 2 brilliant versions of it, one by Zappa himself, another by Dweezil, I am not sure which one is better. However “Harrassment” by 2000 Motels is equally fantastic, equally strong and bluesy and (maybe because I was so close to the stage) growling deeply within audience. I was totally amazed by it.
And then…the top of the evening, the “Village of the sun”. A song that could go unnoticed among other Zappa hits, maybe even something one can live without, but 2000 Motels have changed my view on that forever! It was a mesmerizing moment, when both keyboard solos and guitar appeared out of nowhere, it blew me totally out!
It was the most NON-expected sensation of the evening, it was so much different than anyone could imagine! (mind you, there are couple of versions of it obviously, but NONE of them like by 2000 Motels!)
So, at the point when you expect something like Echidna’s Arf beginning, suddenly a slow, calming keyboard sounds fill the space and you are immediately put miles away, almost in Eden, or other peaceful place, where you clearly recognize deep bass lines, beating the smooth rhythms, delicate drums in distance just emphasizing the beat and then you are slowly getting drown into sensational keys which (brilliant on themselves), are setting the mood and later slowly give up space for one of the most thrilling and mesmerizing guitar solos I have heard in my life, one out of this planet!
I have heard many fantastic guitar solos by Vai, by Blackmore, by Prince, by Zappa, Gilmour or Satriani, but this one, this one puts Jan among all of them! It was like a waterfall but with calming notes, a cascade of passion and energy, equally deep as soothing. The notes were not rushed, executed in precision to the very last one, bringing the deepest sensations. So delicate, yet most powerful of all solos on that evening…I stood there, hypnotized, hoping that it never ends, I almost felt those notes going through my body, I was floating on them, letting my mind completely out of that very place and moment…and then….I was cursing myself that I did not have my phone recorder on!
An absolute masterpiece that one was! A world class musical experience that I can’t get enough of. If You Tube was a vinyl record, my constant re-plays of that snippet on 2000 Motels site, would erase every note out of it and none of you could have ever heard the (so far) most beautiful performance of 2000 Motels.
And that was it, cut off suddenly, 2 hours passed like a minute, left me happy that I could feel (not only listen to) Zappa’s music, fueled for next months, and I could see by happy band members faces, they were satisfied too!
Nevertheless I only got more appetite and expectations, anticipating what is to come? And there is certainly a LOT of it, since 2000 Motels are just starting their adventure.
If you wish to experience a good Zappa show, you can’t miss it! Even if you have never heard of Zappa, it is a perfect starting point do educate yourself and fall into the beautiful world of his compositions.